Why do we say “No?” Sometimes it is for safety reasons, sometimes because the idea presented simply isn’t appropriate, but what the next few paragraphs will unpack, is why do we say “No,” when the answer could be “Yes.”
Let’s be honest, we all like to hear “Yes” a whole lot more than we care to hear “No.” So, why do we do that? Why do we say “No?” Is it because it’s easier, or more comfortable, or that it allows our minds to stay static in the environment we’ve created for ourselves to exist? “No” typically ends things; it allows for us to leave them right where they are, just how we found them.
So, what happens when we say “Yes” and what can the impact on the educational environment be? “Yes” certainly opens us up to more work. But, the work that it suggests, can be wildly creative, can push boundaries, and help us to improve self and others. Remember when you were a child and, with enlarged eyes, you approached Mom or Dad and asked if you could have a friend over, or go to the movies, or have that extra piece of dessert? And they said “Yes.” Wow! It was so exciting.
Carry that over into the workplace, school, classrooms, personal decisions. If the answer could be “Yes,” why not do it. YES, I will use more technology in my class. YES, I will participate in a book study. YES, I will come to your game to watch you play. YES, YES, YES… imagine the worlds we could unlock if we explored what “Yes” could do for us as adults. And then, the modeling we could pass along to our students and to our children. “Sure thing, I’ll shoot hoops with you in the driveway.” YES, I’ll camp with you in the backyard. YES, I’ll take a walk with you. YES I will help you with your homework rather than look at my device. YES, I will set up a Google classroom for those struggling with this concept, etc. Saying “Yes” opens up possibilities and expands our lives beyond the act of saying “Yes.” In the examples above, each helps create a memory, promotes change, and is overwhelmingly positive.
I think we need a whole lot more of YES in schools, especially when working and considering our young people. We need our students to navigate a pretty complex world. A “Yes” attitude could help address climate change, bring sustainable safe water to those in dire need, could bring peace to warring countries, end violence in schools and address a myriad of other challenges that desperately need solutions.
The question is, “Will you give it a try?” (Hint, the answer should be YES!)
Dr. Paul McDermott